Death Classification: Performance of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 17 years, 9 months, 18 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 21st District - Prairie
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Illness - Cardiac Arrest
Age at Time of Death: 52
Date of Birth: 11 Aug 1926
Date of Appointment: 23 Jan 1961
Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth
End of Watch: 10 Nov 1978
Date of Interment: 15 Nov 1978
Cemetery: Burr Oak Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Not Enshrined
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 33
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 28-E: 16
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Air Force
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman James Days, Star #6154, aged 52 years, was a 17 year, 9 month, 18 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 21st District – Prairie.
On November 10, 1978, at 2:30 a.m., Officer Days and his partner, Patrolman Phylis Townsend were working beat 2141. While on patrol they observed a suspicious vehicle, a red Audi, which contained several occupants acting erratically in the vicinity of 51st Street and Woodlawn Avenue. The suspicious vehicle had a green light but was not moving, but rather standing still with its high beam lights flashing on and off. Officer Townsend pulled the squad car close to look inside the vehicle. The vehicle then drove off increasing speed and began weaving. The officers initiated a pursuit and approximately one block later, as the vehicle was still moving, the driver and passenger jumped out and fled on foot. The vehicle continued to move and crashed into a tree coming to a stop at 1357 East Madison Park Avenue. Both officer began to pursue the suspects on foot. Officer Days had already called the pursuit into the Communication Operations Section (COS) and responding units were converging on the area. While in pursuit, Officer Townsend heard that a man was down at 50th Street, she would later learn it was her partner. Responding to the pursuit, Sergeant S. Castaneda, beat 2120, discovered Officer Days laying on the sidewalk in front of 1371 East 50th Street unconscious. Officer Days was transported to Billings Hospital by beat 2172, arriving at 2:50 a.m., he was pronounced dead by Dr. Dubnow at 3:25 a.m. on November 10, 1978. Officer billings had gone into cardiac arrest during the foot pursuit and died as a result.
Prince Willis, age 19, of 65 East Harrison Street, was arrested by Sergeant Crozier of the University of Chicago Police Department. The sergeant had responded to the officer’s radio message for help and located Willis in the vicinity of the foot chase. Willis was positively identified by Officer Townsend as the driver of the fleeing vehicle. It was learned that the car Willis was driving was reported stolen from 5324 South Kimbark Avenue at 12:59 on November 10, 1978. Willis was later charged with possession of stolen auto.
Officer Days was waked at Canaan Baptist Church located at 6659 South Harvard Avenue, his funeral services were held at Progressive Funeral Parlor located at 7208 South Stony Island Avenue. He was laid to rest on November 15, 1978 in Burr Oak Cemetery, 4400 West 127th Street, Alsip, Illinois.
Patrolman James (NMN) Days, born August 11, 1926, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on January 23, 1961 and was issued Star #6154. On June 8, 1966, he was issued Patrolman Star #6081 after reporting his previous star missing. On June 10, 1966, he was reissued Patrolman Star #6154 after the star was recovered.
Officer Days served in the U.S. Air Force from 1943 thru 1948, was a veteran of the Korean War and was Honorably Discharged. He was survived by his wife, Doreatha Rebecca (nee Bryant) age 46; son, Melvin Leroy, age 18; mother, Leola Benable (nee Sanker) and siblings: Mattie, Morgan, Ruth and William. He was preceded in death by his father, Elcannah.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #Z410909 Theft Report and Z411000 Hospitalization Report.